Air-conditioned lightvessel

The “Gannet” once served as a lightvessel. Today, it contributes to Basel’s cultural heritage as an event location. CTA was called on to supply the VRF air conditioning unit and thus provide pleasant temperatures inside the ship all year round.

The sound of music fills the rooms of the former lightvessel. Concert-goers listen with relish. And right in the middle: CTA servicing technician Nicolas Collay. Shortly before the concert, he carried out the first follow-up inspection since commissioning. Now, he is treating himself to a different type of evening entertainment.

An ocean-going vessel transformed

For decades, the soon-to-be 70-year-old ocean-going vessel warned other ships in the Northern Irish Sea about the treacherous South Rock. In 2019, the Shift Mode association sailed the barge up the Rhine all the way to Basel, converted it over a two-year period and now uses it as a venue for cultural events.

Air conditioning with fresh air

The “Gannet”, which was built in 1954, is equipped with a ventilation system, which is also used for cooling or heating. A direct evaporator battery built into the ventilation system is operated with a VRF exterior unit for this purpose. Through this process, a specific fresh air percentage is continuously fed into the interior of the ship, instead of merely recirculating the available room air.

“For some year, we’ve noticed that this process is becoming increasingly popular,” says CTA’s Danijel Matic. “Previously, the exterior units for split air-conditioning units couldn’t be connected to direct evaporator batteries. Thanks to technological advances, this is now possible—as well as being cost-effective and easy to implement.” This allows people’s desire for fresh air to be catered to, not only here in the hull of the ship, but also in office spaces or residential buildings that have controlled residential ventilation.

The former engine room is now a performance space with a stage, a sophisticated sound system and two bars.

Participating companies

  • Drees und Sommer Switzerland

  • CTA AG

  • Shift Mode association

How the lightvessel became an event ship

More info


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